CBU
Warner

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- No. 8 Christian Brothers built a 22-point first-half lead and held on as they cruised to an 85-74 victory against Florida Southern in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday afternoon.

The Bucs (24-6) took the lead for good early in the game, when a Harry Green 3-pointer sparked an 11-0 run. Michael Drake followed with a layup, then Green added two more layups. Zack Warner capped the run with another layup, giving the Bucs an 18-7 lead with 14:11 remaining in the half.

The Mocs never came closer than seven points again. The Bucs blew their lead open late in the half, when Warner scored eight of his team-high 22 points during another 10-0 burst, capped by a jumper that gave the Bucs a 42-20 lead with 4:17 remaining before the break.

The Bucs' lead grew to as may as 24 points in the second half, when a Green layup gave the Bucs a 72-48 lead with 5:36 remaining. But then, Florida Southern's (20-10) leading scorer Seth Evans heated up, scoring 15 of his game-high 27 points in just 2:52 as the Mocs went on a 19-2 run to trim the Bucs' lead to 74-67 with 2:37 to play. 

Scott Dennis answered with a triple of his own to stop the bleeding, and the Bucs salted away the victory at the free throw line, making all six free throws in the final minute.

Warner scored 22 points with nine rebounds, six blocks, six assists, and no turnovers in 38 minutes to lead Christian Brothers. Green scored 20 on 7-of-10 shooting with five rebounds and five assists, and Dennis scored 12 with nine rebounds and four assists. Trey Casey added a dozen points off the bench in a winning cause for the Bucs.

Evans scored 19 of his 27 points in the final 6:11, as he finished 9-of-19 overall and 6-of-11 from three-point range. Brett Bailey tallied 21 points to go along with eight rebounds, and Kevin Capers added 13 points of his own for the Mocs.

The Bucs shot 60 percent (33-of-55) for the game, including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from 3-point range, while they held the Mocs to 38.9 percent (28-of-72) overall and 28 percent (7-of-25) from beyond the arc. The Bucs out-rebounded Florida Southern 39-33, but FSC added a 14-6 turnover margin to their 12-7 edge in offensive rebounds.